Feb 11

Experiencing Camp Hidden Valley

The Valley
It is a setting of wonder and contradiction
A place where the mind and body wander
Hidden among the mountains

A deafening CRACK
Everyone flinches
As wicked beryl lines dance across the gray sky
Thunder booms through the Valley
This is nature
In its infinite might

Mt Shannon
Overlooks all
The tremendous promontory 
Like a natural border
Between the Valley and the backcountry

Everyone comes to the amphitheater
A grand outdoor show unfolds
Blue and green clad troubadours appear
The camp staff perform betwixt two broad fires
While flames lick at the Valley’s offerings
Logs and kindling given new life
Providing light
For skits, songs, and stories
Relayed far into night

The erratic towers over the old council ring
Ceremonies unfold before its presence 
A monolith from a different time
Brought deep into the forests
When the glaciers carved the Valley

As the woods beyond are obscured by rain
The ground mired
I can only wait within a tent
Lazily watching from under a tarp roof
From the Valley’s torrents

A bald eagle soars overhead
A smooth, feathery body held aloft by outstretched wings
Floating on thermals
Above the humid Valley

There is a shout
All firearms are silenced
Something comes on to the range
An albino porcupine
Not unlike a furry snowball
Slinks out into the open
A paradox common to the Valley

Fishermen are startled
As a wretched turtle emerges
An algae cloaked beast
Old as the Valley itself
Its complexion as mystic and ancient 
As the depths of Lake Eileen

Late in the Valley
Staff gather
A circle of sharp azure uniforms
Staring thoughtfully into a bonfire
The heat intense in the cold night
As they reflect on events past and present
Pondering what the next day will bring

Not a sound was heard in the Valley
Save for three staff
A woman and two young men
Who sat on a dock
Quietly chatting
Peacefully mulling over
The intricate constellations and immeasurable galaxies
Crystal clear in the great mural above

In the off season
Like a blanket of snow
Silence settles over the Valley
Once so full of energy
Now a hollow ambience
Waiting for the next summer